Skull Session: Chris Holtmann’s Team Needs an Identity, CJ Stroud is QB1 for the NFL Draft and Ohio State Will Be Loaded Next Season

Ohio State ladies’s basketball simply retains on profitable.

I like that about this workforce.

Let’s have Friday, we could?

UHH, CHRIS? Before Ohio State males’s basketball began its streak of five-consecutive losses, the Buckeyes had been the No. 1 workforce in KenPom’s adjusted offensive effectivity. That was fairly good! But now, after a 40% taking pictures efficiency towards Minnesota and back-to-back sub-40% performances at Rutgers and Nebraska, Chris Holtmann’s squad has fallen to No. 11 in that very same class. Yikes!

I’m certain one may level to a number of different areas the place the Basketbucks have struggled amid this catastrophic skid, however the decline in offensive effectivity annoyed me the most. At first, I wasn’t certain why. Then, I believed one thing that will not learn as profound because it was to me at the second: This workforce, regardless of having performed 18 video games this season, has but to seek out its id.

In 2017, Holtmann began his tenure in Columbus with a fame as a defensive-minded coach. Ironically, his Ohio State groups have not been stellar in that division for what seems like ceaselessly. Instead, that offense was what has shone beneath Holtmann.

But right here we’re, watching the Buckeyes endure a five-game dropping streak, and “shine” is most likely the final phrase that involves thoughts when watching the present workforce’s offense. I feel “stagnant” is maybe a greater phrase to explain what it is like when Ohio State possesses the ball.

The 5 gamers on the court docket – it does not matter who they’re – have struggled to get persistently clear appears out of performs, have regarded misplaced and, from time to time, uncontrolled each time they’re in the movement offense, four-around- one set. Those components have led to Ohio State scoring 69, 73, 67, 64 and 60 factors in its final 5 contests, which interprets to just one giveaway of free McDonald’s fries, individuals! Let alone a free Big Mac!

Offense has all the time been the bread and butter for Ohio State beneath Holtmann, but it surely hasn’t been straightforward to come back by as of late, making the Buckeyes’ defensive struggles much more noticeable than they’ve been in earlier years. What sort of id are you able to presumably have with no offense and no protection? The reply is no id in any respect.

I’m undecided if I consider a workforce’s id might be discovered this late in the season. However, there isn’t any better take a look at of a workforce’s character, chemistry and power than a five-game stretch of Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Michigan, with the battles towards the Illini and Hoosiers on the street. If the Buckeyes are to have any calling card in 2022-23, they’re going to discover it over the subsequent two weeks. For the sanity of Buckeye Nation, let’s hope they do.

STROUD → QB1. According to draft analysts from many nationwide sports activities information retailers, CJ Stroud is anticipated to be one in all three quarterbacks chosen in the first spherical of the 2023 NFL draft, together with Alabama’s Bryce Young and Kentucky’s Will Levis.

Depending on which mock draft you take a look at, Stroud will both be the first, second or third quarterback taken amongst the three, as there is presently no consensus as to what order they need to be chosen after we attain late April.

Quite frankly, I discover that ridiculous, and apparently, so does former Georgia quarterback and present SNAPS podcast co-host Aaron Murray. For Murray, Stroud is the clear-cut No. 1 selection for a workforce in want of a signal-caller over Young (and Levis, however he selected to not evaluate Stroud with Levis as a result of, come on, of us) for a number of causes:

  1. Stroud’s dimension (6-foot-3, 218 kilos) vs. Young’s dimension (6-foot, 194 kilos)

  2. Stroud’s accuracy (profession 69.% comp) vs. Young’s accuracy (profession 65.8% comp)

  3. Stroud’s efficiency towards Georgia (23-34 for 348 yards and 4 TDs, 192.4 passer price) vs. Young’s performances towards Georgia (61-101 for 790 yards, 4 TDs and two INTs, 138.3 passer price)

I wholeheartedly agree that Stroud is a greater prospect than Young due to his dimension and accuracy. However, I’ll admit that Stroud’s efficiency towards Georgia in 2022 is not a one-to-one comparability with Young’s outings towards the Bulldogs in 2021, as they had been totally different defenses due to their personnel (however nonetheless related in expertise, however).

Will Stroud be the first quarterback taken in the 2023 draft? I have no idea. Probably not. But I feel he’ll finish us as the high signal-caller on this class after we look again on it subsequent 12 months and in 5 years, 10 years, 15 years and past.

Why? Because Stroud has the accuracy, sturdiness and dimension to stay round in the league for a protracted, very long time, which makes me excited to see what he can do at the subsequent degree enjoying for whoever is blessed sufficient to have his providers in the future.

OHIO STATE IS LOADED. Despite sending an skilled and proficient draft class to the execs after this previous season, Ohio State will return loads of expert gamers to its roster in 2023, together with a number of Buckeyes that can be at the high of NFL draft boards in 2024.

Good Thursday, ESPN’s Matt Miller launched his early take a look at 2024 NFL draft prospects, and – actual shocker right here – the Ohio State emblem was throughout the record at a number of totally different positions. Here is who Miller has his eye on as Ryan Day’s future squad takes type this spring, into fall camp and into the season:

TreVeyon Henderson

A proper leg damage slowed Henderson’s sophomore season, however over the previous two years, he has rushed for over 1,800 yards and added 26 whole touchdowns. At 5-foot-10 and 214 kilos, he has the traits to be a starter in the NFL. Henderson led all Power 5 backs with 6.8 yards per carry when wholesome in 2021, and with actually elite pace in the open area, there are some Jamaal Charles vibes right here.

Marvin Harrison Jr.

The son of an NFL legend, Marvin Harrison Jr. is creating his personal legacy in Columbus. As a real sophomore, the 6-foot-4, 205-pound receiver caught 77 passes for greater than 1,200 yards and 14 touchdowns whereas trying like a 2022 model of Randy Moss. Harrison has elite dimension and physique management, however his greatest trait is his palms. He’s as sure-handed as they arrive, with energy and focus that resulted in zero drops in 2022. He will probably be WR1 in the 2024 draft.

Emeka Egbuka

In its quest to earn the WRU label, Ohio State has one other receiver anticipated to hold a Round 1 grade — and Egbuka can be the high receiver at most schools due to his route operating and go off the line of scrimmage. His pace and acceleration have him ranked as the greatest deep menace in the 2024 class. Egbuka had 74 catches, 1,151 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2022 regardless of being the Buckeyes’ second possibility.

Cade Stover

One of my favourite all-around soccer gamers in the 2024 class, Stover does not catch a ton of passes however stands out as a blocker down the area and as a receiver when referred to as upon. He collected 36 receptions for 406 yards and 5 touchdowns in 2022. At 6-foot-4 and 255 kilos, he appears like an prompt starter in the execs.

Miller additionally listed Matt Jones, JT Tuimoloau and Lathan Ransom as gamers that scouts will probably have huge circles round on their whiteboards for the subsequent 16 months. Surprisingly, there was no point out of Tommy “Two Thumbs” Eichenberg, which is unusual. Maybe a Big Ten Linebacker of the Year and a Butkus Award for Eichenberg in 2023 will get him on Miller’s radar.

OLYMPIC VILLAGE. Ohio State ladies’s ice hockey received its first nationwide championship in 2021-22. As we transition into the new 12 months, I look to the workforce’s title as one in all the greatest moments in Buckeye sports activities from final 12 months (behind solely synchronized swimming’s thirty third championship, after all).

It seems the of us over at the Big Ten Network have additionally been performing some reflecting this January, as they launched a characteristic about how head coach Nadine Muzerall has reworked the ladies’s ice hockey program in her quick tenure with the workforce, with the nationwide championship performing as proof of the constructive way forward for what is to come back for the Buckeyes with Muzerall as Ohio State’s chief.

This season, Ohio State is the No. 1 workforce in the USCHO Poll (receiving all 20 first-place votes) with a 20-2-2 file by means of the first 24 video games. Led by former Patty Kazmaier Award finalist Sophie Jaques, veteran forwards Jennifer Gardiner and Emma Maltais and goaltender Amanda Thiele, the Buckeyes are on a mission to win one other championship this season.

With solely 10 video games and 5 regular-season opponents left to face – St. Cloud State, Minnesota State, Minnesota, St. Thomas and Wisconsin – Ohio State is nearing the ultimate levels of that mission. It will want psychological and bodily toughness to endure that stretch, and the stretch of the NCAA Tournament, if it is to perform it.

Luckily, that is what Muzzerall brings out most in her gamers. Time to go back-to-back?

SONG OF THE DAY. “Hey Ya!” by Outkast.

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